RE­VIEWED BY KATHARINE ENG­LAND

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in­dis­tinctly spotlit in grainy, grey CCT cam­era footage.

On the sur­face of the novel these in­ter­act, pass­ing and meet­ing around the wide arc of Cir­cu­lar Quay, record­ing re­veal­ing re­sponses to first sights of Syd­ney’s icons, the Bridge and the Opera House. Be­neath the sur­face the four in­ti­mately and pri­vately en­gage with Slessor’s poem, with me­mory and time. It is as if the poem is a song that has been ex­panded into a sym­phony, the riffs and themes re­peated, re­fined, re­stated and even­tu­ally brought home to a rest­ful con­clu­sion, all back­grounded by the per­pet­ual, lively, cir­cu­lar voice of the didgeri­doo.

Each of the char­ac­ters has their own coun­ter­part to Ir­ish Joe, who haunts Slessor’s dreams. Pei Xing has her fa­ther, the trans­la­tor of Dr Zhivago into Chi­nese, den­i­grated and de­stroyed in the Cul­tural Revo­lu­tion; Cather­ine has her brother Bren­dan, child­hood soul-

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